A crash inside the final three kilometers on the final stage of Tour of Turkey took Matt Goss out of contention for the field sprint. Although he missed out on all available points on the line, Goss retained his hold on the points jersey to win the Tour of Turkey sprint competition after eight days of racing.
“This morning we discussed our options,” said Sports Director Neil Stephens. “We asked ‘Do we go for the green jersey or for the stage win?’ The guys were in complete agreement that we would go for the stage win and by winning the stage, we’d look after the points jersey as well.”
It was a straightforward stage with several attacks early in the race.
“Daniel Teklehaimanot was in a move five kilometers from the start,” noted Stephens. “There were constant attacks, potholes everywhere and a lack of communication on the race radio. It was a really crazy sort of start.”
As the peloton began the first of eight laps on a circuit course, four riders escaped the bunch. Vladimir Gusev (Katusha), Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma – QuickStep), Damien Gaudin (Europcar) and Ivan Stevic (Salcano-Arnavutkoy) gained a maximum advantage of 3:25 at the stage’s halfway mark.
Argos Shimano, Rabobank and Farnese Vini gave chase and quickly halved the gap. With one lap remaining, the break had 45 seconds over the field.
“The teams settled into the race when we came onto the circuit,” explained Stephens. “From there things went pretty well to plan. The breakaway went up the road. Teams chased. We remained with our plan of going all out for the stage win.”
Six kilometers from the finish the last survivor from the break was back in the bunch, and teams began to line things up for the bunch kick.
Matt Goss wins Points' Jersey. Photo Credit: ©Graham Watson
“That’s when Gossy went down,” said Stephens. “Robbie [McEwen] was involved in the crash, too. His chain came off. He put it back on again, and we thought we’d try to see if we could get him to eat up some sprint points at the finish, but his chain was all twisted.”
Theo Bos (Rabobank) took the stage win ahead of Andrew Fenn (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) and Stefan van Dijk (Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s). Ivailo Gabrovski (Kornu-Torku Seker Spor) claimed the overall title for his local Turkish team.
“We had to wait at the finish to see where Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) finished,” said Stephens. “He was a real threat to Matt’s points jersey. When results posted, we saw Mark was outside the top-15. Matt was able to conserve the points jersey after all.”
Talking about the crash, Stephens said that Goss was a bit banged up but had no major injuries.
“He complained a little bit about some pain in his shin,” said Stephens. “He’ll probably have some bruises and be sore tomorrow, but he has nothing major to deal with as far as we can tell. We’ll get him right back to the hotel to ice up as soon as possible.”
Despite a disappointing finale to the Turkish Tour, Stephens is satisfied with the team’s accomplishments.
“Matt’s definitely on track for the Giro,” said Stephens. “He’s ready – and that was our main objective this week.”